Google revealed several updates related to the coronavirus pandemic this past weekend.
Product management director, search Emily Moxley said in a blog post that since the beginning of 2020, searches for coronavirus and Covid-19 have spiked to the point where they surpassed common search topics such as weather and news.
Google is refining the experience when people search for Covid-19, including links to resources from national and local health authorities, as well as a carousel of Twitter accounts from local civic organizations and health authorities, in order to surface the most recent information and resources when they become available.
Modules will also be added containing statistics about the spread of the disease and maps displaying its prevalence in countries worldwide.
Google said this new experience will roll out in English for U.S. users in the coming days, with other languages and countries to be added soon.
The company also unveiled a website in English in the U.S. focused on education, prevention and local resources, including state-based information, safety and prevention tips, as well as resources for individuals, educators and businesses.
The website will also be expanded to more languages and countries in the coming days.
Finally, Google is taking steps to ensure that people have access to authoritative public health guidance and the ability to locate appropriate health services.
Users in the U.S. searching for urgent care, hospitals and other medical services in Google Search or Google Maps will see alerts reminding them that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals showing symptoms of the coronavirus call ahead in order to avoid overwhelming health systems and increasing the risk of exposure.
Moxley wrote, “As coronavirus becomes a challenge in more communities and as authorities around the world develop new guidance and tools to address the pandemic, we’ll continue to find more opportunities to connect people with key information to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe.”